The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center has 3D-printed a Dirigo Star to present to the Maine Bicentennial Commission. The commission will be using this star as a key part of their time capsule honoring Maine’s bicentennial. University President Joan Ferrini-Mundy presented the star to Sen. Bill Diamond, the chairman of the bicentennial commission, in an online ceremony held on March 15.
The Dirigo Star is a symbol which comes from Maine’s state flag. The word “Dirigo” in Latin means “to lead,” and the star is a representation of the North Star, and is symbolic of Maine’s leadership and guidance.
“It was my grandfather, a potato farmer from Ashland, who taught me as a young girl to turn my eyes to the stars in the night sky. Still today, it is not a book or a map that I rely on to find those constellations or to find my way through life. It is the experience, resilience and, most importantly, the perseverance of an Aroostook County farmer,” Gov. Janet Mills said during the ceremony. “The Dirigo Star is a beautiful tribute to the ways we have been tested as a state and as a nation, and a timeless reminder that the perseverance of Maine people will guide us through the challenges of our times, as true as the North Star.”
Students and staff at the UMaine Composites Center created the star in tandem with the bicentennial commission. The design and creation of the star took several months of planning. The star is 3 feet wide in size, and will be stored in a custom wooden cabinet created by Maine Heritage Timber. It will be housed in the Maine State Library in Augusta. This display will be finished within a year, and will be created out of reclaimed wood from the Penobscot River. It will have four compartments, or storage drawers, to allow for items to be added at each of Maine’s milestone anniversaries in 2045, 2070, and 2095. The full capsule will be unsealed in 2120, 100 years from now.
“We are thrilled to have this beautiful contribution from the university that incorporates new technology to help us celebrate how far we’ve come as a state in the past 201 years,” Diamond said. “While many of our events for the bicentennial commemoration have been postponed, unveiling the star today and kicking off our time capsule program is a way for us to remind the public that we remain active and we fully intend to properly mark this moment in history, not only for ourselves but for the generations of Mainers to come.”
Ferrini-Mundy also spoke to the importance of this moment for the university.
“The North Star that this capsule is modeled after has been a constant guide to the people who lived on this land before and since statehood. It’s meant to symbolize our state’s leadership, but today, it also shines a light on the talent and innovation that has been produced by our flagship university since 1865 and increasingly is elevating Maine in our nation and around the globe,” Ferrini-Mundy said. “We are honored to present this gift made by our faculty, staff and students to the people of Maine, and proud that it will be on public display in Augusta for the coming century as a reminder of what the people of this great state are capable of creating together and the central role of innovation in our past, present and future.”
Habib Dagher, the executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, also spoke about the construction of the Dirigo Star at the online unveiling ceremony.
“3D printed using aerospace-grade composites, the Dirigo Star created by our outstanding staff and students honors our past while ushering in our technological future,” Dagher said. “We thank the Maine Bicentennial Commission and state leadership for joining us on Maine’s Statehood Day, and for the opportunity to present the time capsule in front of 3Dirigo, the world’s largest 3D-printed vessel.”
Before it is to be stored in the Maine State Library, there will be a public sealing ceremony held in late fall of this year. The Maine Bicentennial Commission is currently accepting public input on what other items should be included to commemorate 2020.